If you have ever watched a Star Wars show on Disney Plus, there''s a good chance youre familiar with Respeecher''s work, whether it''s realize it or not. Both the Mandalorianand The Book of Boba Fett, as well as for an as-yet-unidentified character in Obi-Wan Kenobi, have asked the company to keep the name of the character a secret for the time being, but there''s certainly no shortage of applicants.
Polygon spoke with Respeecher CEO Alex Serdiuk to clarify a process that to many viewers no doubt borders on sacrilege. Serdiuk emphasizes the human element behind the platform itself. Through our technology and services, we can [studios] to measure voices, alter voices, and even resurrect voices.
Although Darth Vader himself may be more machine now than man, if the Ukrainian company is supplying his voice (and remember, if) the character''s essence is still very much flesh and blood, far from the mental feeling that a sound engineer is cloning it.
There is no artificial intelligence available yet, and I think it would be feasible to use it only on a turnkey basis to produce the performance we desire.  We need another human voice to [predict] input, because that human voice gives all the inflections, the accent, the speech style, and pace that AI is not good at achieving, according to Serdiuk.  It takes all the performance, all the acting from what we call a source voice, and then we do the conversion.
Respeechers has allowed actors like Hamill to record different takes just as they would on an actual set, which the company''s experts may later adjust at their end based on comments from showrunners like Jon Favreau or Deborah Chow.
Is it possible that with studio projects and films, people can record tens of thousands of takes for each line? That means that we would need to convert all of those [into the younger voice], send them back, and maybe send different versions because we used to train different models with different settings, according to him. Can you try to make [a line reading] sound a bit more like they ask? and we would work to make it look a bit more like they ask.
In the case of The Mandalorianor The Book of Boba Fett, is the ultimate aim to recreate a traditional performance using nontraditional methods? Serdiuk believes that the uk''s lines were somehow transmitted directly from the set of 1983s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Although many people thought about the visual effects used to portray Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian finale, Serdiuk believes that the synthesized performance in Respeechers may be artificial, although the creator is quick to clarify that although many observers disagree with the fact that the Jedi Masters voice was only synthetic until Lucasfilm made the special several months later.
The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett''s musical skills were particularly impressive due to the quality of Respeecher''s legacy assets. That [data] was quite old, and there''s an old ADR recording, something from a video game, Serdiuk claims. However, this is the primary obstacle in many projects which involve aging or resurrecting [performers voices].
The CEO of Respeecher believes that overcoming these data-related challenges has been worth it now that industry firms like Lucasfilm have developed a synthetic speech [platform] that would go through sound engineers and Hollywood studios and land in large productions. So, when they accept our sound, when they say something good about the sound we were able to produce and thats a very complex and complex technical challenge, it really encourages us and aids us in developing.
I told Serdiuk that the increased acceptance of voice cloning technology might mean that studios no longer require talented soundalikes to stand-in for deceased actors. For example, would Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in which Guy Henry imitated the voice of Grand Moff Tarkin as the kind of project that would automatically land on Respeechers desk now? Not necessarily, according to Serdiuk, who sees Respeechers voice cloning technology as one of several viable options
Even if Lucasfilm ever called upon Respeecher to re-create the voice of a dead actor, the company would do so without the approval of the actors estate, according to Serdiuk. Even though Lucasfilm is a repeat customer, the company has made significant advances in voice cloning technology.
Serdiuk has already developed a vision for Respeechers'' future that extends beyond de-aging actors voices, although he remains adamant that the company has planned to broaden filmmakers'' creative possibilities rather than shrink them. He also discusses the use of the technology to help smaller film and television studios and video game developers expand their budgets further. He also talks about democratizing the technology, citing one instance where the company is working with a voice actor who has lost their voice to enable them
Serdiuk has lost sight of what it means for Respeecher to participate in a certain space opera set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It''s something special. So, I mean, this story is part of a story. Star Wars have splintered the industry from a technical perspective, and the way they make their films is fantastic. So, it''s a huge honor to be able to collaborate with those people and gain valuable knowledge.